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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2007
It's taken me a while to get into Bloc Party. I first encountered them at Leeds festival - and I wasn't impressed. They appeared to me to be just another wannabe indie-cool art band whose creative talent had been channelled into their dress sense instead of their music. However, after hearing some tracks from their debut album, Silent Alarm, and finally purchasing the album for myself some months ago, I have been forced slowly to admit that I was wrong. That album combined some infectuous motifs with some very effective musical arrangemnts that are by turns easy on the ears and great fun to dance to, coupled with some surprisingly clever lyrics (surprising because they're difficult to make out without the sleeve-notes).

This follow-up album is something entirely different - and so much the better for it. It seems the band have completely reinvented themselves and come up with something entirely unexpected, but just as good, if not better than their debut album.

The opening track has an incredibly inventive refrain (just try singing the line `Oh how long our parents they suffered for nothing' - it never does what you expect it to) and `Hunting for Witches', which follows it, similarly builds on its air of lurking menace and jaunty discontent (albeit with lyrics that are perhaps a tad unsubtle). The next two songs are linked, using the rythmic similarities between the verses of `The Prayer' and `Waiting for the 7.18' to generate a sense of alienation that links the situations of the two songs: one is constantly defeated, constantly looking for something more to life, whether `waiting for the 7.18' or `standing on the packed dancefloor'. `On' continues this theme, with a melancholic evocation of the lure of cocaine, at once leading to great nights out, but also reminding us that `when it runs out, we're chasing something we'll never catch'. `Uniform' takes up the theme of the difficulty of rebellion and true expression in the modern age, building from a slow, moody verse to a screaming chorus of frustration.

`Where is Home', influenced by recent incidents of hate crime, especially the Stephen Lawrence trial is genuinely uncomfortable to listen to. Not since the Manic Street Preacher's `The Holy Bible' has such vitriol against social injustice (`I want to stamp on the face of every young policeman, to break the fingers of every old judge') rung so true.

In the final section of the album, the songs become more reflective, with the beautiful `Kreuzberg', in which the singer ponders of the illusion of love obtained in numerous `strangers' bedrooms' before deciding that `at twenty-five, something must change'. The song then ends on a haunting chorus dealing with the discontentment in love that we have all surely felt at one point or another, sung over a wonderful guitar riff - a riff which is echoed in `Saturday', whose beautifully optimistic chorus is the very reverse of `Kreuzberg', suggesting that when true love does come, not only is it wonderful, but touchingly ordinary (`I love you in the morning when you're still hungover'). I think `forget about those melting ice caps, we're doing the best with what we've got' must be one of my favourite lines from any song ever.

Sandwiched between these two tracks is the album's high point, `I Still Remember', in which the singer recalls an unrequited love from his school days, regretting that he hadn't made his feelings known at the time. It's a cliched concept made new here by the simplicity of the lyrics - `Every park bench screams your name, I kept your tie' - which tells you, at once, both nothing at all and everything you need to know.

Ending the album on a thoroughly depressing note is SRXT, which appears to be about a suicide - `Tell my mother I'm sorry and I loved her'. After the optimisim of the preceding two tracks it brings you down to earth with a bang, forcibly reminding you that though life can be wonderful, the uncomfortable note of the first seven tracks never completely goes away.

So all in all a beautiful, profound and moving album, with something we can all relate to. Different from `Silent Alarm' it may well be, but all that means is that its virtues are different too. Extraordinary stuff.
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on 22 January 2007
Since 1st hearing this in November06, it was quite clear that this is a serious contender for Album of 2007.

Whereas it definately starts of strong- the 1st 5 tracks show Bloc Party have grown in every possible way as songwriters- the latter half of the album may take its time to grow on you as it definately slows down in terms of pace.

'Song for Clay (Disappear Here)' has a huge Muse-like guitar riff & really kicks off the album.

'Hunting for Witches' is one of the best tracks on offer here, with a scattered electronic intro which leads into a 'Helicopter'-esque guitar riff. Massive Chorus, and as with many of the tracks, a definite political statement is made in Kele's lyrics.

'Waiting for the 7.18' has a M83 influence in my opinion, continuing in to the crunky, electro beat of 1st single 'The Prayer'.

'Uniform' starts off softly, but eventually leads to a massive rock riff with more excellent guitar work from Russell.

'On' is definately where the album dips in pace. However, despite running out of ideas like most bands, it's here that Bloc Party demonstrate their new found experimentalism, employing strings instead of the usual distorted guitar tone.

'Where is Home?' begins with kele's moody vocals, sounding a little like TV on the Radio, before urgent drums accompany them. Guitars dont take over until the chorus, where the song soars. More political undertones in the lyrics.

'Kreuzberg' is a tender song about looking for love, but finding another one night stand. One of the longest songs on the album has a cathartic instrumental section midway before Kele laments;

'After sex

The bitter taste

Been fooled again

The search continues'

'I Still Remember', for Bloc Party, is a very simple song, picking up the mood slightly with an upbeat guitar line. Another song about lost love, yet contains a very uplifting melody. Very easy song to like.

'Sunday' finds Kele finally with that someone, detailing this in mildly playful lyrics in parts ('I love you in the morning, When you're still hung-over'). Like the previous track, in musical terms it seems very simple for a band like Bloc Party, however has another fantastic vocal performace.

'SXRT' is by far the most emotive song on 'AWITC'. Starting off very slowly with barely audible piano and backgroud noises, Kele seems to tell a tale of suicide before exploding into a Sigur Ros-like wall of sound.

The closing song is the most obvious mark that Bloc Party are meant for bigger things than most NME-fodder bands.

Despite having shades of 'Silent Alarm', 'A Weekend in the City' is far removed from the Dancefloor-Post Punk of the debut. With such a tight rhythm section in Matt Tong & Gordon Moakes, an incredibly talented guiatist in Russell Lissack and a frontman like Okereke who seems to want to make a statement or create a piece of art instead of a top 40 single, this album should see Bloc Party ascend to the same plain as other UK guitar bands like Radiohead.

5 Star album.

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on 13 February 2007
After the stunning and original 2004 debut 'Silent Alarm', Bloc Party are back with 'A Weekend In the City'. Silent Alarm was one of the best debut albums of all time in my opinion, so following it up was going to be a tough task. They've somehow managed it though, this album is full of blinding guitar riffs, haunting lyrics, and so much energy and emotion - you can really feel that the band have put all their heart and soul into the music. This Radiohead/Dizzee Rascal/Joy Division influenced band have gone from strength to strength, and have developed a unique and original sound. Kele Okereke (Vocals, Guitar) has a superb unique and strong voice that has great range and gives the songs a whole new dimension. Russell Lissack (guitar) uses a lot of delay and tremelo guitar effects that give the songs a sound of their own. Gordon Moakes (bass) and Matt Tong's (drums)creativity was what made 'Silent Alarm' really shine; on this album they are more low key, but they still do a great job of cementing the rhythm section. Kele is the main focus on this album. Bloc Party lyrics are very political (you can tell that Kele wants to make a statement on every song) and very strong; Kele is an excellent songwriter. The stand out tracks for me have got to be Song for Clay (a very haunting song with very strong lyrics about east london), Hunting for Witches with is great guitar riff, Uniform (brilliant song which builds up into a massive climax) and single The Prayer, with it's crunk influences.

The Bonus DVD comes with a short clip of the making of the album, but it's boring, and the camera work is awful. It doesn't give a great insight into the making of the album either. Luckily it comes with the music video for the first single 'The Prayer' which charted at no 4 in the UK charts, and the soon to be released single 'I Still Remember'. Both of the videos (especially I Still Remember) are an enjoyable watch, but unless your a massive bloc party fan i would just stick with buying the Non Bonus Edition.

Overall 5/5 If you haven't already heard of this fantastic and original band, then buy this album if you want to be truely awe inspired by the energy and depth that this album has. If you are already a fan, and are worried that this will not live up to Silent Alarm, don't be. Click the 'Add to Basket' button and never look back.
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on 7 February 2007
With the exception of 'Where is home'(can't get on with it at the moment, maybe it will grow on me!), I love every track on the album.

'Uniform' stands out as a bit of a masterpiece. Really love the way it builds.

The thing that strikes me most about the album is the amount of emotion and feeling that flows through the songs. You feel that the songs really mean a lot to Kele and co.

'A Weekend in the City' lived up to and maybe even surpassed my expectations.

Highlights for me are 'Song for Clay', 'Uniform', 'Kreuzburg' and 'I still remember', though it is a tough task to pick out just a few!

Five Stars!
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on 4 February 2007
i fell in love with bloc party the first time i listened to silent alarm, and as soon as i heard ''the prayer'' i knew we were in for another treat. kele gives the performance of a career here. and it is a more complete album than the first. for me ''i still remember' is possibly the weakest track on the album so i am glad that is the second single. there is something about this band that you want to make your own. 'song for clay...' 'kreuzberg' 'hunting for witches' 'SXRT' and 'uniform' are real gems. the latter of which may be the bands best work yet.

''i am a martyr, i just need a motive'' wow

everybody take note. bloc party have here without a shadow of a doubt one of the best albums in the last ten years. wish them the world and with this album that might just be what they get!!!
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on 12 September 2008
Ok, silent alarm is an amazing album and not easy to follow up and i don't think trying to make silent alarm 2 is the way to go but what made silent alarm so good was it didn't sound like coldplay,doves,snow patrol etc-however good those bands are. one of the main reasons fo this is Kele,s vocals. on silent alarm they are like another instrument and immediately make you listen. it was so refreshing to hear silent alarm for the first time partly because of this. However, with a weekend in the city, i think a decision was taken to use the album to push bloc party up a notch in popularity which i think is why they produced it so differently. Kele,s vocals are toned down and altogether the music is smoother than silent alarm. This is really dissapointing that they seemed to have done away with the main characteristics of the band that made me like them in the first place. All that said there are some really good songs on the album with a constant theme running through them. After many listens i now really like a weekend in the city albeit for totally different reasons as to why i love silent alarm, i just wished they had kept some of the "differences" that set them apart from other bands around at the moment. Fortunatley, the next album will redress the balance somewhat but overall a weekend in the city is worth buying but don't expect it to come anywhere near the debut.
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on 28 August 2008
Bloc Party are not everyone's cup of tea, I didn't like them when I first heard them, but then again, I don't think they intend to be liked by everyone or that would make them conformists to popluar culture.

Personally, I think that the album is amazing. It has some, what I can only describe as thumping riffs and superb climaxes as well as some more mellow tunes all of which are in careful balance of one another. We're slowly introduced to a more electric side of Bloc Party showing they are able to broaden their horizons in the music they produce. It's not all about the music though, it is the lyrics as well. So if you appreciate the lyrics, you appreciate the music more. So perhaps to some this would be a grower.

If you like music that is easy listening and about nothing, don't get this album. But if you like to dig deeper and enjoy indie music with meaning, it may be worth trying this. Any Bloc Party fan is bound to love it.
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on 11 February 2007
I had become disillusioned with the current crop of insipid similar sounding (British) indie guitar bands. What I did not expect was this masterpiece. I bought the album without hearing a single track having long ago stopped listening to the Radio. What I was rewarded with when I placed the record (yes Vinyl) on the turnatble after the first couple of pops and hisses was a staggering work with an emotional core and incredible heartfelt lyrics.

I cannot praise this album enough. It is the first great album of 2007 and eclipses Silent Alarm by light years without tampering with the trademark Bloc Party sound. In parts it reminds me of TV on the Radios Return to Cookie Mountain in the way the sounds are multi layered but that is where the similarities end. Every track could easily be a classic and it will not be long before you hear them on every TV commercial and incidental music, which will unfortunately lead to accusations of populism and commercial sell out but quite frankly this music is simply incredible and will transcend criticism.

If you think you have to make a choice between this album and The View or the Klaxons then I say there is no choice. I am 38 years old and grew up listening to Punk and New Wave. Novelty is a rare thing in music and it takes a lot to get me excited.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2007

A Weekend In The City is Bloc Party's long awaited and long overdue follow-up to Silent Alarm. It features 11 brand new tracks, including the current top 5 single "The Prayer". I have been looking forward to this album for quite some time but was put off slightly by the single, which I don't particularly like. Thankfully, the rest of the album is better than that one song suggests and includes a plethora of decent tracks.

Highlights include:

"Hunting For Witches" - a rather fitting title for the song because the main melody is somewhat haunting. This is perhaps the rockiest track on the album

"Uniform" - one of the longest tracks on the album at a little under 6 minutes. The opening 2 minutes are mellow but then suddenly the song increases in tempo courtesy of a bass line that's introduced and gradually develops into a glorious ending with decent guitar solo

"Kreuzberg" - a mellow track that is a delight to listen to and very emotive

"I Still Remember" - this will presumably be the second single because a music video has already been made, as shown on the bonus DVD (which I shall mention in a minute). I can fully understand why this would be released as a single because it's an infectious song and definitely one of the strongest on the album. It's a mid tempo track with some pop sensibilities about it

The album does feel quite morbid in places (especially the final track which is pretty depressing) but it's enthralling and insightful. It feels a lot more personal this time round and I get the impression Kele is singing about real-life experiences in most of the songs. The production values have improved from the previous album making it feel different to their debut. This is still recognisably Bloc Party in the style of music on offer but the edgy stripped-down sound that worked so well on the debut is less apparent on this release. That's not to say it makes this one weaker because I think on the whole this album is possibly more accessible.

There are currently two versions of A Weekend In The City on release. The standard no-frills version and also a limited 2 disc version with bonus DVD (which can be differentiated by the red case is comes in). The bonus DVD includes a behind the scenes look at the making of the album and two music videos.

On the bonus DVD:

Making of the album - a 20 minute behind the scenes feature, filmed during the recording process in summer 2006. It's not very insightful and hardly reveals anything about the making of the album, as the title would suggest. I've seen it once and don't think I will ever feel compelled to view it again. Most of the film features a montage of clips with their album tracks playing over the top but the camera angles and direction are so poor that it's hardly worth watching

Music videos - there are two music videos on offer, "The Prayer" and "I Still Remember". The latter is a very impressive video to a very impressive song and certainly worth watching. However, the video for "The Prayer", much like the song, is pretty forgettable


Overall, A Weekend In The City is an impressive sophomore release for Bloc Party and I feel their fan base will continue to grow. Expect this album to enter the charts highly (early indications strongly suggest number 2) and deservedly so. How does it compare to the debut album? It's fairly similar in quality but I'm not sure if there are as many layers to explore in this album - I think there is less variation on the whole. So all in all, probably not quite as strong as their debut (but only marginally so), yet still a very good album and comes highly recommended to new and existing Bloc Party fans. I don't think too many people will be disappointed.
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on 23 January 2007
I cannot stress how good this album is! As a band they have seemed to have matured some what since silent alarm which I have listened to about 10 thousand times. I have had this album around 2 months now and even now I still listen to it sneakily at work all day on my ipod. Any Indie/Punk genre people this is a must buy....

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